Food to take in a campervan.

You’ve got your campervan booked and you are ready to set off on your adventure. You’re in the planning process and then you realise that you need to plan your food and nutrition consumption for your trip. It should be easy and straightforward, however things such as limited budgets, food storage, the type of cuisine that you plan to cook, and perishability needs to be considered.

Although you will be travelling in a home that’s away from home, it’s unlikely that you’ll have access to your full kitchen cooking and storage facilities unless you opt for a luxury motorhome. And in some cases, the campervans will come with various options for food & kitchen storage and cooking facilities.

There are a number of things that you need to consider if you plan to take food in a campervan.

Planning to take food to eat on your campervan adventure should

What things should you consider?

Food availability

Travelling around any major city in Australia will allow you to get access to the major supermarkets where you will be able to buy food that you can prepare. This means you should be able to buy most things fresh and won’t need storage facilities as you can just buy certain foods or ingredients as you need them.

Use Google Maps to find Woolworths, Coles, Aldi, and Spar supermarkets that’s on your route.

If you travel outside of the main cities into the countryside, you will need to consider finding local grocery stores or searching for sellers (such as farm owners or local producers) that can offer you ingredients that you can buy along the way.

If you need a number of ingredients that aren’t readily available to purchase in the area that you are travelling to, then you will need to consider food storage options during your trip.

When to eat

Typically, people will eat between 3-6 times per day. This is usually comprised of 3 main meals and snacks in between.

  • Plan for 3 major meals (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
  • Plan for snacking in between the three major meal times.

Satiety

Many people have issues with satiety and end up feeling hungry whilst they are travelling. This is usually because they are consuming the wrong kinds of foods. And even though they may be consuming food that is on a very low budget, the food itself isn’t helping with satiety and giving you the energy that you need to enjoy your trip.

To make sure that you minimize your hunger cravings, try to consume more protein-heavy meals rather than fatty or carbohydrate meals. And opt for whole foods that aren’t processed rather than processed foods and snacks.

Ideal options to consume include:

  • Nuts
  • Meats
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese/Dairy
  • Coffee and tea

Storage

As you plan out your trip, you can consider the different storage options that you need. The biggest issue tends to be space conservation. So you want to carry foods that won’t take-up too much of your storage space within the campervan.

Cooking meals vs ready to eat meals

Ready to eat meals are very convenient for travelling as all you need to do is open up the packet (or the thing that they are stored in) and then consume what it is you plan to eat.

It’s also more manageable with cleaning, as you will often need to conserve water depending on where you are travelling to. With ready made meals, you may only need to consider managing and storing waste after you consume your meals.

Ready to eat food is also available with fresh produce. Although you will typically be looking at things like:

  • Dried fruits
  • Fresh produce fruits
  • Dried meats

Cooking meals can be an enjoyable experience, but you need to consider how you will cook the foods, preparation, utensils and tools, and cleaning up after you have consumed the meals. The perishable items that you carry to cook may last up to 2 days in an ice box. If you have a proper refrigerator and freezer in your campervan, then perishable items such as your meats should be able to stay longer.

Cost

The cost to buy food will be more if you invest in good quality food. However, the cost will be offset by what you would pay for medical expenses or things related to having a lack of energy. We aren’t advising you to break the bank. However, you should be prepared to invest in enough protein, fats, and carbohydrates for your trip.

Cleaning-up

How often can you get food?

What about storing your food?

Perishables

Non-perishables

What types of food should you consider consuming whilst you are on your campervan trip?

Consider balancing out what you want to eat during your campervan trip with the following food groups.

Nuts

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Pecans
  • Brazil nuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Coconut
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pistachio

Protein

  • Soy beans
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Fish
  • Goat
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Dried meats (Salami, Jerky)
  • Pre-cooked meats (Beef, chicken, fish)

Fats

  • Cheeses (Opt for cheeses that hold well in an outdoor temperature)
  • Avocados
  • Nuts

Carbohydrates

  • Sweet potato/Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Cucumber
  • Fruits

Travelling in a campervan will be an adventure. And depending on where and how you travel, you will need to consider how you will carry food whilst you are travelling in a campervan.

When travelling in most places in Australia, you will have access to local supermarkets that will sell ‘ready to eat’ meals, tinned food condiments, fruits, vegetables, and more.

On top of that, there will be several take-away food options that you can consider consuming as well.

If you decide to travel somewhere that is more remote, then you will need to plan your food supplies more carefully.

How should you strategize your food budget, storage, and consumption while you are travelling around in a campervan?

Things to consider.

  • Do you have a budget for eating out or purchasing food and drinks along the way?
  • Do you need to buy food in bulk and store it so it is preserved?
  • Will you have access to a fridge?

Keep a stock of dried food.

  • Powdered milk
  • Nuts
  • Oats (to create overnight oats)
  • Dried fruit
  • Cereal such as Weetbix

[1]

Lunch

  • Couscous (This can easily be hydrated with hot or cold water)
  • Snacks
  • Peanut butter
  • Muesli bars
  • Bread wraps
  • Hard cheese
  • Choose a hard cheese that is low in moisture and wrap in a cloth
  • Parmesan, Grana Padano, Swiss Gruyere, Cheddar, Gouda and Mozzarella are all good choices

Dried meats such as salami or jerky

[1] Food on the trail – A beginner’s guide